I started training in 1994 with a new group that was formed by Mr. Dimiter Zaprianov and Mr.
Zivko Belemezov. We called it Club Shiro. :) There was no testing, or Belt giving, it was just a
group of guys led by Mr. Zaprianov and Belemezov training about 4 to 5 times a week together
in the school gym.
We had limited information on Katas, it was mainly Kihon, and kumite with Kumite emphasis.
Achievements: won a kumite competition in 1998 in Bulgaria.
My current Rank is Nidan, and I have been in numerous seminars. My hobbies are like to Spend
time Fly Fishing and tying Flies, I like to work with Leather in my spear time. Profession is
FedEx Contractor delivering and servicing Businesses and residential. Education
Major in Finance with emphasis on Derivatives and Portfolio construction and management with
degree from UNLV. University of Las vegas.
Teaching approach is I like basics (kihon). Basics are the foundation of everything. Basics can
always be improved. They are the same for all of us, and how we use the basics are different for
all of us because we are all different.
Sandan / D rank Instructor
Mr Trio began his karate journey in college at Illinois Wesleyan University. After returning to the Chicagoland area he resumed his training under Sensei Dhawan and quickly advanced to the rank of shodan. Since that time, he has participated in camps and tournaments both domestic and foreign, as well as help instruct at the dojo. Currently Mr Trio holds the rank of sandan and participates in the JKA’s instructor training program in which he holds the initial ranking of D.
In his classes, Mr Trio prefers to focus on kihon and kata, as a solid foundation in the fundamentals serves to help all students grow in their karate. He believes in letting students try and then asking questions to engage their minds as well as their bodies during instruction.
Professionally Mr Trio is a software engineer at SquidBooks, an online education company providing personalized science learning to students. In addition to his bachelors degree from Illinois Wesleyan, he holds a masters degree in computer science from Depaul University. Prior to his current position he consulted at several large companies in Chicago.
After class, feel free to ask Mr Trio about his other interests which mirror his professional work, technology, games, and movies. He also won’t ever turn down hearing about unique places others have traveled or lived.
Danny Salas is a Chicago native and US Navy veteran. He began his karate journey in 1994
with the International Shotokan Karate Federation (ISKF). There Mr. Salas trained under
Sensei Colin Smith for three years earning his 1st kyu under him. After enlisting in the Navy,
D Salas took a hiatus from karate until 2011 when Mr Salas found Sensei Dhawan’s dojo.
Since training under Sensei Dhawan, Mr Salas has earned his Sandan and is a qualified “D”
instructor and “D” judge with the JKA. He has participated in various tournaments and most
recently was the Illinois men’s kata champion in 2019.
Mr Salas believes that kihon must practiced with strict discipline and attention to body
mechanics, kata must be practiced with passion and emotion and kumite must be practiced with
an empty mind.
Outside of karate, Mr Salas is married with two children. He is an independent business owner.
In his free time, he is an avid fan of Star Wars and enjoys building lightsabers.
Bill Zemlak has practiced and taught Shotokan karate as a member of the Japan Karate Association (JKA) for over 30 years. He is a founding member of the Chicago Karate Institute and has been training with Dhawan Sensei since 2006. He began his karate in Vancouver, Canada with Sakurai Sensei, who is an instructor in Japan and coach of World Shoto Cup Champion, Don Sharp. He continued to practice in Denver, CO after relocating to the United States in 1995, and eventually settled in Chicago in 2000.
Bill is a strong believer in basics. He emphasizes strategy, timing and distance in his teaching. These aspects are important for both those first taking up karate and for those who through age or physical restrictions have speed and power limitations.
Over his karate career, Bill has taught hundreds of students ranging from regular dojo members to law enforcement and military. Today, Bill’s research and practice focuses on combat karate for real-life self defense. In addition to core training in the dojo, he teaches specialized classes and seminars including:
Understanding violence and the mindset of those who employ it
Situational awareness to identify and avoid confrontation and physical engagement
Managing distance and reading attackers
Practical self defense for men
Practical self defense for women and children
Self defense when carrying a concealed weapon.
Outside of the dojo, Bill is the co-founder and CEO of a technology company that is developing artificial intelligence applications for futures trading. He is a former member of the Canadian National Rifle Team, and a concealed carry permit holder in Illinois. Bill is also an avid biker, golfer and tennis player, and lives in Naperville, IL.
3rd Dan JKA, Certified JKA Instructor, USA Karate licensed Kata & Kumite Judge
Mr. Pratik Dalal has been actively training Traditional Shotokan Karate for over 15 years. He currently holds 3rd Degree Black-Belt (3rd Dan) from JKA (Japan Karate Association) and is an athlete as well as an officiating member of USANKF. Mr. Dalal has been competing in various Karate tournaments at regional and national levels in Advanced divisions. Mr. Dalal also takes deep interest in sharing the benefits of karate for youth development. He has a published article in this area.